By Leslie Huff
A unique spot for nightlife has landed at Youngstown State University, catering to those who need a break from their studies.
Every Thursday from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., Republic Pizzeria e Pub allows the YSU community to enjoy a night of dancing, today’s hottest tunes, New York-style pizza, billiards and good company.
The pizzeria officially opened for Thirsty Thursdays in summer 2019 for guests 18 and over, with a required $5 cover charge.
YSU freshman Maeson Green, whose preferred name is DJ MazeFaze, is the official resident DJ. As a fellow Penguin, Green understands the pressure students acquire during the 16-week semester and the desire to de-stress from student responsibilities.
“They have tests. They have exams. They just want to take a break. Some students like to relax, and some students like to relax while drinking,” MazeFaze said.
Since the closing of campus hot spot Inner Circle Pizza, some students were in search of a replacement to tend to their social needs.
“Although Republic isn’t Inner Circle, it still gives students a chance to go get some pizza and get that bar feel and also enjoy some good music,” MazeFaze said.
The owner of Republic, Josh Santangelo, decided to start Thirsty Thursdays at the pizzeria after recognizing the lack of rhythmic tunes at the establishment.
“We hadn’t done many live music sets yet, so we really wanted to implement that,” Santangelo said.
MazeFaze said Republic’s social event has changed the traditional atmosphere on campus.
“Having a DJ at Republic changes the music culture and culture period on campus. It’s a good thing for students to do,” MazeFaze said.
He said he looks forward to keeping the dance floor packed with people during his musical sets.
“I like to play songs … that people forgot came out or didn’t know came out, so you’re in for a full night of fun when you’re in the presence of DJ MazeFaze. There’s no way you can stay still,” he said.
Unlike other clubs in downtown Youngstown, Republic’s kitchen does not close until the lights are off.
“If we’re open, we serve food. Typically, we serve pizza until 2 a.m.,” Santangelo said.
For students who prefer to avoid crowded dance floors, stationed in the west wing of the club is an area where billiard enthusiasts can practice their aim into the pool table pockets.
Sam Fabrizio, a graduate finance student, said he was thrilled to learn about an on-campus pool table.
“It’s so cool that I can get a round of pool in in between classes and during nighttime fun,” he said.
After witnessing the influx of students and positive outcome for the business, Santangelo said he has hopes for additional events to be added to the school week as the years progress.
Santangelo said students can look forward to the possibility of Tuesday Karaoke Night and Wednesday Ladies Night. Female patrons attending Wednesday night festivities can anticipate a discount on drinks.
Republic Pizzeria e Pub is located on Lincoln Avenue, neighboring Jimmy John’s.